Perfect Summer Parks

Get off the treadmill and hike, paddle, lawn bowl, fish, or fly a kite.

Remember the days when there were no fancy-schmancy gyms? No elliptical machines equipped with personal boob tubes, no indoor AstroTurf soccer fields, and certainly nothing known as the Bowflex. You might be wondering: How on earth did people stay fit? They went outside! I know, the thought is daunting, but it's true what they say—a little fresh air and a dose of sunshine can do a body good, both physically and mentally. Lucky for us, Seattle is chock-full of incredible parks, urging you to get your butt outside for some au naturel exercise. Here are a few parks with suggested activities that will whip you into shape (for details on most, see

Everyone knows Green lake Park (7201 E. Green Lake Dr. N., 206-684-4075), where the most active to the out-of-commission folks can find something to do. Rent a paddleboat or kayak and work those calf muscles and biceps, or bring your board and go windsurfing on a breezy day. Carkeek Park (950 N.W. Carkeek Park Rd.) is a vast park right on the water and has some of Washington's best trails to challenge even the most experienced hiker. Forget about the clunky shoes and cheesy disco balls at indoor alleys, and try lawn bowling instead at Jefferson Park (4165 16th Ave. S., 206-762-2490, If golf is your forte, the park also offers a 6,200-yard course with a view of Mount Rainier on a clear day ( ). Throw out a line at the 400-foot fishing pier at Myrtle Edwards Park (3130 Alaskan Way W.), and catch some extremely fresh seafood as well as a magnificent lookout of Elliott Bay.

Let Fido drag you for a good run around Seattle's high-altitude Queen Anne Hill Park and enjoy spectacular views of the city; your pup might also enjoy a Frisbee session, but remember the leash at South Park Community Center (8319 Eighth Ave. S., 206-684-7451), Redmond's Marymoor Park (6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. N.E., 206- 205-3661), and Shoreline's Hamlin Park (16006 15th Ave. N.E.), where the Ultimate Frisbee games might make him crazy ( Exercise your brain with a friend on the giant chessboard at Capitol Hill's Cal Anderson Park (1635 11th Ave.), or gather a couple of teams and rent a baseball field at the Bobby Morris Playfield. Think "California-style" and get an upbeat game of beach volleyball going at family-friendly Golden Gardens Park (8498 Seaview Pl.), or reminisce about childhood days and fly a kite with the kiddies. If you're yearning for more of a daredevil stunt, try to land a flip or two off the high dive at Madison Park (East Madison Street and Howe Street). Just remember what the lifeguard used to tell you: Make sure the water is clear before you jump!

So take advantage of the handful of sunny days in the Emerald City and pay Mother Nature an activity-filled visit. She'll appreciate it, and more importantly, so will your body.

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